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July 8, 2017

How Ramblers Way Came to Be (Part II)

How Ramblers Way Came to Be (Part II)

Last time we shared the inception of Ramblers Way – check it out here.

As Ramblers Way grew, our need for Rambouillet Merino wool increased exponentially. The lack of availability of this fiber in the U.S., always in short supply, resulted in a shortage of reliable, domestic grade 80's wool. We faced one of those crossroads moments – should our whole clothing line change to use a different quality wool? Or is it better to blend synthetic fibers with wool to stretch the supply, but potentially compromising Tom’s original vision? Or are there additional sources of superfine wool outside the U.S.?

Ramblers Way - 4oz Wool Jersey
4oz Wool Jersey

Innovation vs. Compromise

Ultimately the question became about innovation versus compromise. How to build Ramblers Way while also staying true to well-established, non-negotiable values like respectful use of natural resources, humane treatment of animals, diversity, equality and community? One answer for Ramblers Way lay in a certification called Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Organic provides peace of mind that environmental, social and animal welfare standards are followed throughout our supply chain, from farm to fabric to fashion. Born out of founders Tom and Kate Chappell’s personal interest in organic agriculture, including raising sheep, as manifested in their own organic farm in Maine.

GOTS is a rigorous certification that uses independent bodies to verify compliance at each step of the supply chain, from the moment wool is purchased to when it becomes clothing at one of our factories in the U.S. Thus, while we are no longer able to source 100% of our wool from the United States, there’s no compromise on the quality of wool nor on the higher commitment to our communities and natural world. We’ll continue to source wool from the United States whenever we can, and support initiatives like the Responsible Wool Standard to grow the supply of superfine, responsibly grown wool. Finally, we are completely committed to clothing made in America, with American hands and American know-how, in American factories.

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